2020 was a SHIFT show – yes, I said “shift.” Whole organizations had to abruptly shift to remote work in the spring. And although vaccinations are being injected into arms as we speak, it doesn’t mean things will return to “normal” in 2021.
The great remote work experiment has changed everything, and by all accounts, flexible work is here to stay. Gartner reports that 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time after workplaces reopen. By the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week, according to Global Workforce Analytics.
How does that impact how IT must prepare to support their organizations? Here’s what we’re hearing from IT leaders as they set their sights on the new year.
Three key priorities for IT in 2021:
- Remote technology
While remote technology kept work on the rails through the pandemic, there’s still more to do. According to research from IDG, most companies (84%) looked to off-the-shelf solutions to cope with their short-term needs.
That’s left IT with a lot to manage. Now, 65% of these organizations are actively consolidating their remote work tools for 2021, and 60% plan to increase investment in remote work tools over the next 12 months for an average of +21% increased spend.
This points to a theme that we are seeing with our customers. IT teams are reevaluating their support toolkits and consolidating on a solution that allows them to support long-term remote work with an emphasis on security.
Cyberthreats will continue to be a hot topic in 2021. Look no further than recent news on the SolarWinds supply chain attack. Businesses need to constantly evaluate their current support infrastructure and leverage tools to stay ahead of security threats. For example, to protect against phishing and scamming and provide peace of mind to end users that they’re in the right place for support, IT will need to focus on how they connect to remote support sessions and ensure their connection methods are as secure as possible.
- Flexible workspaces
In the work-from-anywhere era, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) continues to be an MVP. Not only can relying on personal devices help IT gain cost savings, but employees tend to be more productive on devices that they are already comfortable with.
Every remote workstation is unique with a mix of desktops, laptops, mobile devices, headsets, keyboards, extra monitors, printers – the list goes on. This requires IT to provide comprehensive device support. In fact, HDI reports that two-thirds of organizations say their support organizations now provide additional IT services. And these services will continue to be updated and expanded to support the growing number of new employees requiring remote onboarding. The ability to remotely support physical equipment is often a gap in IT strategies that will need to be filled in 2021.
We can’t forget the human side of the shift to remote work. While some people are at a loss for what to do with themselves in their isolated work bubbles, the vast majority are more productive. In fact, according to Forrester’s PandemicEX survey, just 35% of US workers say they aren’t as productive at home. Keeping workers productive from anywhere requires fast and efficient support from IT help desks.
But it also requires connection. IT technicians are working remotely as well and need the right tools to be able to work together seamlessly.
Seamless collaboration is a must-have in the work-from-anywhere future. Technician collaboration can bring extra help into a support session from inside or outside the organization to solve tough challenges and simulates shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration in a virtual space. This means IT never has to work alone even while apart.
Do these priorities align with your 2021 IT plans? Prepare your help desk to support a wide variety of devices securely, keep your workforce flexible and productive, and forge connection through collaboration.